Taste of Downtown San Diego 2006

San Diego's 7th annual Taste of downtown offers more than 50 restaurants for your tasting pleasure. The event started from 5PM and ended 9PM on 9/14/06. It's $25 per person but it's worth it for the price and large sampling. All the restaurants are within walking distance of each other in the Gaslamp and Little Italy area of downtown San Diego. We managed to hit a third of the restaurants on the list. Next year we'll split up and try to get them all!

List of Restaurants:

1. Crunch Time Popcorn

2. House of Blues

House of Blues catfish

We reached this place near the end of the night and by then, the food wasn't piping hot anymore, not that it mattered much. The catfish was oddly flavored, as if they were trying hard to make it cajun style, but failed miserably.

3. La Gran Tapa

4. Le Cake Chateau

5. Le Fountainbleau

6. RA Sushi Bar Restaurant

RA Sushi viva las vegas roll

This was the Viva Las Vegas roll. It looked appetizing and was tasty enough for us. The lotus root chip was very yummy.

7. Sixth Avenue Bistro

8. St. Tropez Bakery and Bistro

9. The Local

They gave out 7 different samples of local beers brewed in San Diego. Two from Karl Strauss: Red Trolley and another one of their brews, one from Pizza Port Solana Beach, and a few other local favorites.

10. Yard House

11. Buon Appetito

12. Cabo Cafe

13. Caffe Italia

14. Chi Chocolat

15. Indigo Grill

16. It's a Grind Coffee House

17. Sogno Di Vino

18. Sushi Fix

19. Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano

20. Zia's Bistro

21. Alambres

22. Belo Restaurant and Nightlife

Belo Restaurant creole lobster mac and cheese

We all enjoyed the lovely plates and even rearranged them to complete the puzzle. The creole lobster 'mac and cheese' was pretty good, and one of us finished off the plate after giving the photographer only one bite. But don't worry, the photographer was offered more to make it up!

23. Blue Ginger

Blue Ginger

The food here was like Panda Express food, except pricier.

24. Cheese Shop Restaurant

Cheese Shop Restaurant sandwiches

They had some good desserts and sandwiches as samples. The signature sandwich tasted the best.

25. Chive

Chive appetizer

We thought this was one of the worst samples. Not only was it tiny but it was also boring in taste: a cherry tomato atop of (?) cream in a custard cup.

26. Decos

Decos mini pizzas

The sample here was a mini-version of a pizza from their regular menu. Some of us liked the taste and some didn't.

27. Dick's Last Resort

Dick's Last Resort dessert

This place is where the waiters are rude to you on purpose and it's kind of entertaining. Just make sure you know that before going to this place or else you won't like the service too much. This was kind of like a peanut buttery custard pie and you can really taste the peanut butter.

28. Dussini Mediterranean Bistro

Dussini Lobster ravioli

This was easily agreed upon as one of our favorite places on this trip. The server graciously gave each of us a huge piece of lobster in our Lobster Ravioli sample. It was so soft and delicious. We give it two thumbs up!

29. Fred's Mexican Cafe

Fred's Mexican Cafe Fried Calamari and Beef Chimichenga

The Fried Calamari and Beef Chimichenga sample here was so-so. The calamari was a little tough and the chimichenga was not memorable enough to remember.

30. Gaslamp Tavern

31. Heat

Heat Restaurant

Many of the people we talked to between restaurants talked about how they really liked the food here. I can't exactly figure out what the food is called from the menu online though. When I called the restaurant, the person on the phone had no idea what was served on Wednesday.

32. Henry's Pub

  Henry's Pub Finnish Peppered Salmon

This restaurant offered us their Finnish Peppered Salmon. The salmon was a little bit dry when we had it but if you ordered it fresh at the restaurant, rather than food that sits out waiting to be sampled, it may be more pleasant.

33. Jolt'n Joes

Jolt'N Joes sampler

We tried all three of their samples. Hai declared that the chicken quesadilla was the best of the three. The other two were beef empanada and another that we've forgotten the name of.

34. La Cantina Restaurant and Lounge

La Cantina taco

35. Masala Spices of India

This place offered two different types of curry, a banana curry and a chicken curry. The chicken curry was the best tasting one. The banana curry was a little too sweet for me, so I didn't like it too much. The curry was served with a side of saffron rice with peas and raisens.

36. McMillan Realty - Wine Tasting

Despite this NOT being a restaurant of any kind, there were four samples of fine drinks, one champagne and three wines, including a dessert wine. Also available were chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate for the dessert wine.

37. Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge

38. Ole Madrid

Ole Madrid paella

The chicken had a weird tofu consistency and fairly bland. The paella wasn't anything special and really had no distinct flavors.

39. On Broadway Night Club and Event Center

On Broadway sushi

On the outside were rainbow rolls (salmon, tuna, and yellowtail). They also had a crispy eel roll on another platter. This place was great because the samples were all you can eat. The chef gave us a fresh plate because he said the others have been sitting for a while.

40. Rei Do Gado

Rei Do Gado meats

We managed to get lucky and make it to this place before they ran out of food! The fried bananas are very popular and quite a treat. This place was also buffet style, with multiple types of food to choose from. No wonder they had to shut the doors 45 minutes early.

41. Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

42. The Field

The Field

These are actually OTHER dishes you can get from the Field but they gave out mini cups of shephard's pie. It was mediocre but how accurate can you judge this kind of food with just a tiny sample cup?

43. Basic Urban Kitchen and Bar

44. Buca Di Beppo

45. Cafe Chloe

46. Lotus Thai Cuisine

47. Pannikin

48. Taco Del Mar

49. Quiznos

50. Beach City Market

51. Boloco

52. Panda Inn

53. Samba Grill

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